Saturday, July 23, 2016

Six Months

Holy cannoli! I actually just had a cannoli, so I feel extra special saying that. But now I'm sad there is no more cannoli. Anyway, SIX MONTHS. Half a year! Indiana's Half Birthday! What the heck? Another six months and she'll be a year? No. I wont hear it. Time flies when you're having fun!

And man, this last month was fun. As soon as we figured out Indiana's sleeping thing, she became the happiest baby. I mean, even happier than before. That baby needs her sleep, and when you give it to her, she's happy happy happy. I think in her five month post I mentioned we did some sleep training with Indiana, which was life changing. This past month we also nap trained, which was waaay harder, but had a similar effect. Where sleep training took her about a night to get the jist of things, nap training took about a week. It was ROUGH. But sooo worth it. And her naps still aren't perfect. You just gotta watch her like a hawk and if she starts getting sleepy, put her down to nap! And boom, an hour to two and a half hour nap! If you keep her up too long though, it's more of a struggle. She gets crazy and then when she does fall asleep, it's usually a crappy 30-40 minute nap. Respect the naps! Anyway, sleep training is a hot topic but I'm a fan. Indiana too. Nothing like laying your baby down, her falling asleep without a fuss (this does NOT always happen), and then picking up a happy well rested baby hours later! Plus, FREE TIME. What?! I'm still terrified to turn on the sewing machine for fear it will wake her (one day we will not live in such close quarters) but I have cut out a pattern for a baby sized dress. Eeee!

Aside from Indiana conquering sleep, she's done lots of other fun stuff this month! Not quite the dramatic changes from month 4 to 5, but she's still developing like crazy. No major signs of crawling, but she can roll all over the place now. It's her preferred mode of transportation. Front to back, back to front. Which means she's been sleeping on her belly about half the time. More specifically, face down into the mattress. Which means we've been paranoid as hell. But I'm trying to roll with it! Ha ha, punny. She can stand if you prop her up next to something, like the couch. She's really great at sitting up on her own, no hands! Everyday she can do it for longer, and I'm talking a while. She has to be in the mood though, sometimes I'll sit her up and she's just like nope I'm a floppy newborn again. She found her thumb! Some might think that's a bad thing but really we're all about it. She's awful with a pacifier and I mean, if babies suck their thumbs in the womb it's gotta be natural and okay, right? She doesn't do it all the time, but when she's sleepy she does and that's the important time. She's all about grabbing faces and giving open mouthed tongue-y kisses. Gross but sweet. Still very into putting evvvverything into her mouth. We are SO ready to see what she does with solid food. She watches us eat and even mimics chewing motions with her mouth. That girl wants some food. She starts this weekend and we're doing baby-led weaning. Here come the fun poops!

Overall Indiana is just generally pretty dang fun. Smiles and chuckles like crazy when we play with her. We haven't had a full on laughter session, but I'm eagerly waiting. "Talks" more and more. She's learned to scream, recreationally. Like with all her lung capacity. It was really funny at first but now I'm like... dang, my ears. It's awesome when she does it in public. She is very into the cats. She screams and smiles whenever they come into view. And then tries to grab them and give them open mouthed kisses. She loves them. They're still on the fence, but pretty tolerant. Greg is more patient than Sophie. We've started listening to classical music for an hour or so everyday. She mostly seems to not notice it, but I'll dance with her and every now and then I swear she's really listening. I love classical music, I'm hoping if we start her young she will too! I've got a baby piano on her Amazon wish list... I mean, if she's a child prodigy I wont be mad. She likes books, but mostly she wants to chew on them. We read all the time, and every night before bed. Likes to swim! Her little legs kicking in the water are probably the cutest thing to ever grace a pool. And Indiana LOVES her daddy. I've said this before, but y'all. You should see her face when he comes home from work. Daddy is the cool one. Maybe not as cool as the cats, but cooler than me for sure.

The rough parts? She still loses it if you walk away from her. She needs someone close, but oddly enough if there's a cat by her she's probably cool. Hasn't really had any fear of strangers yet though. She flirts with everyone. Oh and this has been happening her whole life, but she cries if you sneeze. It's sad but so cute. Indy gets psycho in the evenings. Not like crying or anything, but just like legit, a crazy baby. It's kind of funny, but also scary. No one needs sleep more than Indiana, I swear. Really this last month has been a good one. Such a change from the month before, that month was HARD. I know we'll have hard phases again soon enough so I'm just trying to soak in all the relative "calm" while I can. We still have rough days where I am just counting down the minutes until bedtime, but mostly it's been goooood.

Size-wise she's bigger? Still wearing six month clothes, but we've moved on to size 3 diapers. I have no idea what she weighs because our scale at home is super inaccurate. She's got a check up on Tuesday (and the dreaded shottttsssss), so we'll know then. She's getting more hair, finally! She's got lots of light brown fuzz coming in, looks a bit like a buzz cut. Still extra golden in the sun. And here we are at six months and she still has blue eyes. I think they're gonna stay. Tell me they're gonna stay!

AND WE'VE EXCLUSIVELY BREASTFED FOR SIX MONTHS! WOOOO! This is a big deal for me. Breastfeeding was something I wanted to work so badly and it hasn't always been easy but I'm so glad we've gotten as far as we have. And we're gonna keep on going! I love it. Indiana is so not cuddly, so our nursing time is the closest to snuggles I get. And I love that I am totally responsible for growing and nourishing that little marshmallow baby! It's a good feeling. I know breastfeeding isn't or doesn't work for everyone and that is so okay, but I love love love it. I'm proud of us.

I think that is my current favorite photo of her. She's such a goof. A goof who cannot stay still.

So happy half birthday, Indiana! It's been the most radical and wonderful six months of my life. You da best baby, and we love you so so so much. Thanks for being you and don't you ever quit, ya cutie-patootie.

And it was only a matter of time before this started happening:

These photo sessions are going to get more and more challenging interesting! ;)

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Big Cottonwood Canyon + traveling with a baby

More mountains! Our last day in Utah we drove up through Big Cottonwood Canyon and did some hiking! Originally we were aiming for a mountain lake that was about a 2.5 mile hike each way. But we didn't plan too well and started a little too late in the day. It got pretty hot when there wasn't a breeze and there were some craaazy stinging bugs in the flowers (which were beeeautiful), so for Indiana's sake we called it quits about a third of the way in. I still got a hell of a work out, as the hike in was literally up a mountain. All uphill. And the views were amazing. I'd like to go back sometime and make it to that lake!

So much prettiness! Also so much work! Hiking with a baby is hard. But fun! She snoozed on the way down, she prefers going downhill. Me too. ;)

After hiking we kept driving through Big Cottonwood Canyon and checked out a few ski resorts. We also stumbled across some epic views.

This photo does this view no justice at all. You could see for MILES AND MILES. Mountains as far as the eye can see.

We meandered through Deer Valley and then back to Park City. There are so so so many ski resorts. We were trying to scope it out for potential winter visits, but there are so many to choose from it's overwhelming! Not a bad problem to have I guess.

And that was it! After our big hike and driving through the mountains we headed back to the hotel to get Indiana a nap and to pack up for our trip home the next day.

That's the view from our hotel room! Not bad huh? And here's Indiana on our big bed! We sleep on a FULL sized bed at home so a king seriously made us feel like kings!

And I wanted to talk a little about traveling with a baby! Not that I am by any means an expert with this ONE trip we went on, but I wanted to just touch on what we did/learned/now know not to do. Because I read blogs on this sort of thing to prepare, so I figure I'd return the favor.

I think in a previous post I mentioned we picked a flight that was less than three hours, sort of the time of a long nap. I think she could handle more, but we had to drive to Dallas to fly so that was an additional two hours of driving. Plus airport time. It basically turned in to almost a whole day of travel at the beginning and end of the trip. If we lived closer to an airport the whole thing would have been much easier. Luckily Indiana handled it well! Her nap schedule basically went out the window with vacation, but we tried to get her as much nap time as we could.

We picked a hotel and room that was suite style, where the bedroom was separate from the living area. So worth it. We put her crib in the living room so when she went to bed at 6:30 we could stay up in the bedroom without waking her. We also picked a hotel with a crib. This is where I'd do it differently next time. We called when booking to see if they had a crib, and they said yes! We assumed full size normal crib. We even brought our own sheets and stuff. But we were wrong. They had a pack-n-play and a mini crib, but no sheets! They tried to give us just a regular BIG bed sheet, but duh not safe at all. It was a mess. The manager's wife ended up running to Walmart to buy us a fitted sheet. This was by far the most stressful part of the whole trip; we had been traveling all day and it was WAAAY past Indiana's bedtime. But it ended up working out well once we got it all settled. In the future I'd be clearer about what was available or bring our own travel crib. We did bring what we could to make her nap/bedtime routines as similar as possible to home, which I highly recommend. Routines are your friend! We brought our video baby monitor and our white noise machine. We did the same boob, bath, book, bed routine we do at home and it worked like a charm. No sleep issues at night! Naps were harder, because we were basically gone all day. Luckily Indiana sleeps pretty good in the car seat and took some naps in the ergo. We tried to make sure she got at least one decent nap in the crib at the hotel. She's a tough little thing. She definitely didn't get as much rest as she did at home, but she didn't seem to mind too much! She did so good. Endlessly proud of the little monster.

When preparing for this trip I read something online about picking up a pack of the cheapo white onesies and just using those for the trip. So if there's a blow out you can just toss the thing and it wont be too much of a loss. I wish we had done this. We brought quite a few onesies and a couple dresses and outfits, but really, all you want to deal with on vacation is a onesie. Changing your baby on the fly is a crazy enough without an elaborate outfit to deal with. Real clothes are silly. Indy only had one major blow out, but we did lose the onesie to the trash in the process. And it was a cute Harry Potter onesie. So that stunk. In the future I'd just snag a pack of plain onesies. Or at the very least, bring more. She ended up wearing the couple dresses I brought only because we ran out of onesies due to messes, and I had packed extra. Obviously a vacation in the winter would be a whole different ball game.

As far as flying goes, I didn't really know what to expect. I didn't know if she'd love it, hate it, whatever. I nursed her during take off in case her ears hurt, but she seemed completely unbothered by the pressure changes. My ears always hurt! We didn't buy her a seat so on the way there she sat in my lap. She napped a little but mostly just hung out and played with us and her toys. We brought her a variety of things to play with. Too much actually. She really liked looking out the window. On the way back it wasn't a full flight and we were able to bring her car seat on the plane, which was awesome. She fell asleep before take off and stayed asleep until we landed. And she slept through the second most awful turbulence I've ever experienced. I thought I was gonna hurl, Brendon had the barf bag ready. But Indy just snoozed. As we were leaving a lady a few rows behind us said, "I didn't even realize there was a baby on here, she didn't make a peep!" Success! Taking the seat is the way to go, if you're able to. It was awesome. And they'll check your stroller and car seat for you at the gate which is nice. Your goodies are waiting for you when you get off the plane so you're never really without them. Oh and we flew Southwest. I love Southwest and refuse to fly any other airline unless Southwest doesn't fly to that destination. They're just sooo nice! And free checked bags!! Southwest forever. Getting through security/the airport wasn't nearly as stressful as I thought it might be! Having Brendon there though definitely made it easier. It would be a whole different ball game alone, but I think it would be doable. Everyone was nice and helpful. People love babies, even in airports.

I think that's pretty much it! The biggest thing we had to do was just respect Indiana and her limits. We really wanted to hike more, do more in the evenings, swim, etc, but it wouldn't have been fair to her. And we have a pretty happy baby so often we had to remind ourselves... it's been this long since a nap, we should probably make that happen. Respect the naps! Oh and I nursed everywhere. On the plane, in restaurants, coffee shops, on the side of streets, on the side of a mountain, in Temple Square... everywhere. Breastfeeding is hella convenient.

Anyway, I hope this was helpful if you're thinking about taking a trip with your little one. Every baby is different. You know what your baby can handle. I think mostly you just have to be extra prepared, extra flexible, and try not to get too stressed. That last one is my biggest struggle! Obviously vacationing with a baby means more work and sacrificing some stuff, but I think it's totally worth it because... duh, you have your baby with you! And before we know it Indiana will be older and able to do more and stay up later. And then she'll NOT want to be on vacation with her parents... But we'll drag her anyways, because memories!! :)

Oh and ask strangers to take your family's picture!!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Park City and Bridal Veil Falls

On our third day in Utah we headed to the mountains! We checked out Park City and then drove through the mountains to find Bridal Veil Falls, an excellent recommendation from my step-momma who used to live in the area. Park City is cute, not my favorite mountain town so far (that award goes to Aspen, sorrrrrry I'm fancy!), but still very cute. Lots of shops and restaurants and it's surrounded by skiing. It's on a hill so you're basically always walking uphill or downhill and I carried Indiana the whole time in the ergo so boom, workout!

You'll have to forgive these photos, that mountain sun is insane. Everything is extra contrasty. Also Indiana is mostly hidden in the carrier in all the pictures, WHOOPS.

Indiana snoozed like a champ in the carrier while I struggled up the hills.

After checking out Park City we headed off to find Bridal Veil Falls. It's farther into the mountains which meant that the drive was spectacular. Driving through the mountains is one of my most favorite things to do, ever. You find the coolest stuff, like this awesome lake!

Mountain lakes man... they're hard to beat! Waterfalls are real good too though.

Bridal Veil Falls is on this tiny beat up road off the highway, but dang there were some folks there! So many kids. You can hike pretty far up, but it was towards the end of the day and there was no way Indiana (or I) could have made it without losing it. Plus it was extra steep! So we just admired it from the bottom.

Mountains... waterfalls... a baby and baby daddy... what more do you need in life!? (Chocolate, among other things.)

What a dork! ;) I'm looking at that cold mountain stream and wishing I could stick my feet in it! Texas is unbearably hot. I am beyond ready for fall.

That was our first day in the mountains! Only one more day of vacay left! I feel like blogging these makes the vacation last a little longer. Once it's all blogged it's REALLY over. :(

Monday, July 18, 2016

Antelope Island and the Great Salt Lake

Day two in Utah! Our second day there we went to check out the Great Salt Lake before it got too hot again. Antelope Island is an island in the Great Salt Lake (from here on out known as GSL cause ain't nobody got time for that). It's the craziest thing, you drive forever through the suburbia of Salt Lake City and then all of a sudden there's salt flats and no more civilization. The island has a ton of birds, bison, and antelope on it and has a real good beach if you want to swim in the GSL. We got there before 9 and left a little after noon so it was pretty cool temp-wise. It's a deserty sort of place, as you can imagine an island surrounded by salt might be, but still very pretty. And the animals! So neat.


BISON! Like right there!! There were herds and herds of them. Just chillin' on their island. The antelope were a little harder to spot but we saw a few.

We drove down the island to Fielding Garr Ranch, one of the oldest working ranches in the western US. It's next to one of the springs on the island so it was a nice spot of green in a generally brown landscape.

One of the herds of bison we saw! So neat. I'm such an animal freak, I loved seeing them!

After driving around the island and saying hi to the bison we headed to the "beach" to check out the GSL. We didn't swim since it was only like seventy something out, but I wish we had, the water felt so good!

The huge downside of the GSL? All that brown stuff near the water's edge? Gnats. Or flies. Or something. Swarms and clouds of them. MILLIONS. They look like dirt, but it's swarms of flies. I've never seen so many bugs in my entire life. It was crazy. Thankfully they weren't biting gnats or flies (because apparently those exist on the island too), so Brendon just stomped through them and I followed. Once you're into the water there's no bugs!

The water is crystal clear and so so refreshing. It's beautiful. It was a perfectly clear day out, the water just sort of melted into the sky. I could have hung out there forever, but Indiana was like NOPE.

HA, Indiana was not a happy camper. She was over the GSL. She was all about the restaurant by the beach though! We stopped there before heading out because I was huuungry. They had surprisingly good veggie burgers!

Look how clear! It was like the beach! I wish we could have swam, or floated, but I think Indy might have been a little too chilly afterwards. Next time! ;)

That's pretty much it for day two. After Antelope Island we headed back to the hotel for Indiana to get a good nap in and then had some dinner downtown. When your baby goes to sleep at 6:30 your evenings are pretty short. I'm all about that though, I passed out around 8 every night. I think I made it to 9 once to see the sunset. Grandma!

Next up... mountains!!